Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Higher Ground"1 (Lyrics)
Sometimes, I feel that much of my life has been spent in a waiting room. In my overseas travels, a great deal of time is spent waiting in airport lounges, in lineups, sitting on planes as they idle on the tarmac, and resting during the flight. Then, there are more lineups in customs and at the luggage carousels. Waiting can be tiring! I have also spent time in doctors' offices, my scheduled appointment long since past, checking my watch for the umpteenth time to measure the delay. Harder for me is waiting for an answer to a long-prayed-for outcome for a problem that has seemingly persisted for years. It truly is a test for my faith.
The prophet Daniel was a man of persistent prayer. As an elderly man, he had not joined the Jewish exiles who returned to rebuild Jerusalem, since he was of greater use in his role as an adviser to the various kings. Chapter 10 of the book of Daniel tells us that Daniel had been praying and fasting for three weeks, when his vision of a mighty angel overwhelmed him and frightened away those who were with him.
Daniel 10:10-12 – Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, "Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you. … Don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer." (NLT)
The angel goes on to explain that during those twenty-one days, his arrival had been resisted by mighty spiritual powers. There is a clear link between Daniel's persistent prayer and the victory of the angels over the forces of darkness.
Being in the waiting room of prayer isn't easy, yet we are to keep praying. God may be allowing conflict in our lives and the world, not out of reluctance to save us, but to train us as people of persistent prayer. How much help and clarity of vision has never come to us, or been delayed, because we stopped praying? Be assured that we are precious to God, that our prayers are heard in heaven, and that He will answer in His perfect time.
Prayer: "Prayer is the Christian's vital breath, the Christian's native air, his watchword at the gates of death: he enters heaven with prayer. O Thou by Whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth, the Way, the path of prayer Thyself hast trod: Lord, teach us how to pray." (James Montgomery, 1771-1854). Amen.